It was a slow start to the weekend for the Chinese Grand Prix, with first practice being red flagged after a few minutes due to fog and a low cloud base in Shanghai, with the medical helicopter being unable to land at its designated location. After the session was paused for just over 45 minutes, it resumed, and a number of cars went out on track to set the first laps of the session.
Max Verstappen Fastest in Weather Disrupted First Practice in China
Kevin Magnussen was the first driver to come out on track in the Haas after the red flags were lifted. On his first out lap, Magnussen fell victim to the difficult conditions, spinning towards the end of sector two. A few laps later, Romain Grosjean made the same mistake, spinning in the same place as his team mate. It was Nico Hulkenberg that was the first real victim of the session, spinning his Renault in turn two on track, beaching his car in a gravel trap which ended his session. After the Virtual Safety Car was deployed, the session was red flagged once again, delaying proceedings further with all flights in the area being stopped, peaking through the closure of the local airport.
After the second red flag was waved, the session would not be restarted. This left Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen as top of the time sheets, setting a 1:50.491 on the intermediate tyres and completing four laps in total.
Following Verstappen in second and third places were the two Williams cars of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll, being 1.5-2 seconds slower than the Red Bull.
The Toro Rosso cars of Carlos Sainz Jr and Daniil Kvyat were fourth and sixth fastest, being split by the early spinner of Romain Grosjean in fifth place.
Fernando Alonso finished the session in seventh place, followed by the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo. Valtteri Bottas was ninth fastest while Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top ten.
Nico Hulkenberg was 11th fastest for Renault while Stoffel Vandoorne followed him in 12th place in the second McLaren.
The Sauber cars of Marcus Ericsson and Antonio Giovinazzi finished the session slowest of all of the drivers who managed to set lap times in the session, being 13th and 14th fastest.
With practice one being heavily disrupted through poor weather and safety fears, the times set are not respective of the actual performance of the teams, meaning that one of the three practice sessions of the weekend have been lost. With rain being forecast in other sessions over the weekend of the Chinese Grand Prix, further disruptions could arise.
Results from Practice 1 of the Chinese Grand Prix:
- Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1:50.491
- Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:52.086
- Lance Stroll, Williams, 1:52.507
- Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso, 1:52.840
- Romain Grosjean, Haas F1, 1:53.039
- Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 1:53.314
- Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:53.520
- Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, 1:54.038
- Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 1:54.664
- Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1, 1:55.104
- Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1:55.608
- Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 1:57.445
- Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 2:15.138
- Antonio Giovinazzi, Sauber, 2:15.218
- Jolyon Palmer, Renault, No time
- Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, No time
- Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, No time
- Esteban Ocon, Force India, No time
- Sergio Perez, Force India, No time
- Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, No time